Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Operation New Media": Obama's High Tech Enemies List

In the old days, your friendly neighborhood Gestapoman had to work hard to identify enemies of the state.

Then, with the advent of computers and email, government computers could be set to watch for specifically identified "thought criminals," or search email "cc" lists for more potential suspects, or even watch for "key words."

Of course, it used to be that such eavesdropping had to be handled out of politically tricky organizations like the FBI or the NSA. Not anymore. Obama is doing for electronic enemies lists what Richard Nixon did for burglary. He's taking it off the streets and putting it in the White House where it belongs.

Here's the latest from the National Law and Policy Center.

Mike
III

Obama White House Has Secret Plan To Harvest Personal Data From Social Networking Websites

Submitted by Ken Boehm on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 19:07

NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.

The information to be captured includes comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video. The targeted sites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others – any space where the White House “maintains a presence.”

In the course of investigating procurement by the White House New Media office, NLPC discovered a 51-page solicitation of bids that was filed on Friday, August 21, 2009.

Filed as Solicitation # WHO-S-09-0003, it is posted at FedBizzOps.com.

Click here to download a 51-page pdf of the solicitation.

While the solicitation specifies a 12-month contract, it allows for seven one-year extensions. It specifies no dollar cap. Other troubling issues include:

extremely broad secrecy terms preventing the vendor from disclosing to the public or the media what information is being captured and archived (page 7, “Restriction Against Disclosure”)

wholesale capturing of comments by non-White House staff on publicly accessible sites
capturing of content of any type (text, graphics, audio, or video)

capturing of comments by both Obama critics and supporters, with no restriction as to how the White House would use the information.


This is the third controversy involving the White House internet operations in less than a month. First, Obama’s New Media operation asked supporters to send information about critics of the White House health care effort to a White House email. This provoked a storm of criticism and the White House retreated. Then large number of people complained of getting email spam from the White House supporting the President’s health care position. Again the White House was forced to back down.

Now the same people at the White House are at it again with an ambitious plan to harvest huge amounts of information from the web and specifically social networking sites.

Given the White House’s recent abuse of its New Media operations, this huge, new secretive program is yet another sign that this Administration is at best indifferent to privacy rights and at worst prepared to violate civil liberties for political purposes.

Perhaps anticipating negative reaction to the invasiveness of the plan, a justification is provided in a Q&A. section of the solicitation. Question #9 reads:

The Presidential Records Act does not require the storage or archiving of non-EOP content, as such is there a specific reason as to why the content provided on EOP related websites in the form of comments is included in these archiving procedures?

Answer: The PRA includes in its definition of presidential records content ―received by PRA components and personnel. Out of an abundance of caution, we are treating comments made by non-PRA personnel on sites on which a PRA component has a presence as presidential records, requiring them to be captured or sampled.

Of course, this interpretation of the Presidential Records Act is so expansive that virtually any communication mentioning the president or the Administration could become subject to collection and archiving under the Act. This is not out of an “abundance of caution,” but out of an over-abundance of power. President Obama should make sure that this plan goes no further.

See also CNN 'Expert' Lamely Claims to 'Debunk' NLPC on White House Data Harvesting From Social Networks.

9 comments:

Qi Ji Guang said...

To all Patriots, and Oath Keepers. PLEASE, if you have or use any social networking sites, DO NOT put ANY personal information on profiles. That means NO personal addresses, phone numbers, etc... NO personal photos, NO info about ANY personal aspects such as social life.

People nowadays don't remember that the Internet is just like the subway system. Would anyone stand at a busy subway station and hold up a placard displaying his/her personal information. Absolutely not, unless the person wants unwanted attention.

Stay safe, friends.

Digitarii said...

I'm not surprised by this and I think I need to add an easily read tag to the top of my blog about Intellectual Property. Then if they want to come after me, I will be able to go after them legally for illegally downloading my protected works.

It probably won't work, but it's worth a try.

"The cream rises to the top...so does the scum."

tom said...

So...the counter on my web page that counts the number of islamist terrorist acts under the heading of "Hussein Obama's Kin and Pals" is a bad idea?

Dang. That feller wants to take the fun out of most everything on the internet.

Anonymous said...

"The cream rises to the top...so does the scum."--Diditarii

Or, in a moral cesspool, it's the biggest chunks that float to the top.

MALTHUS

Paul W. Davis said...

Is there ANY DOUBT Obama intends to be a totalitarian dictator?

ANY DOUBT?

Nanders said...

Qi Ji Guang, I always enjoy your input and I agree with you about personal info. My only question though is about Mike. He is always giving his information (I guess for complete transparency) and even offers gambits with himself as the pawn.

I don't quite see how this is beneficial for the patriots. If one of you guys understands why he does this, let me know because it does confuse me a bit.

Anonymous said...

Qi Ji Guang

Did you post your comment from your home computer without using some kind of anonymizing software? If you did then the Government can get all your personal information from the logs that this site is required to keep. Did you post it from a another location without using some kind of anonymizing software? If you did then the Government can get all your personal information from the place you posted it's logs that they are required to keep aided by security video that is ubiquitous these days. You are in no way anonymous unless you are using some form of anonymizing software.

Anonymous said...

Nanders, some patriots don't feel the need to hide behind anonymity. Some people are willing to say what needs to be said and take responsibility for what they do and say. Some people also understand that it's not to difficult for a Tyrannical government to obtain any information they require. There are plenty of useful idiots in this country. However, I don't know many patriots that don't try to obfuscate their identity from time to time.

theaton
Tony Heaton
104 Ponderosa Drive
Jemez Springs, NM 87025

Qi Ji Guang said...

Re: Nanders: I really worry about Mike all the time. His articles are spectacular but deep down I am very worried about just what kind of attention he could be getting.

I can say one thing though. Whoever may be feeling froggy, they better think twice before trying to do whatever they want to do to Mike and his family. Thats all I have to say.

Re: Anonymous 1: I actually use the college computer. I am off the grid at home, so that means no electronic gizmos :)

Re: Anonymous 2: I understand your comment about standing up for whats right and not hiding your face, but we have to understand what we are dealing with. Do you think the killers who carried out the Waco massacre possess any sort of honor at all? The man who led the Irish fight for independance before Michael Collins tried to fight an "honorable" war against the royal forces. The result in the end was that the majority of the Irish fighters were executed by firing squad or rotted away in British prisons with no medical care or sanitation. However, once Michael Collins arrived on the scene, the situation turned dramatically.

Sometimes, it is better for one to not be discovered and attract unwanted attention. That means lesser casualties and no unnecessary tragedies. When General George E. Pickett marched 15,000 Virginia troops right into the meatgrinder on Cemetery Ridge, he probably thought it was a very honorable form of fighting. Was it practical though? I don't think so.

During the dirty war in China from 1937-1945 it was the fighters of the night that won the victory against the Japanese war machine, not the soldiers of the day adorned with their colorful uniforms and their political affiliations in plain sight.